29 July 2008

Candace Chellew-Hodge's Open Letter to Sean Hannity

Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge has written a response to the right-wing pundit incitement to violence connected to the recent Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting.

Candace is the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and currently serves as associate pastor at Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, S.C.

Here's a short quote from her open letter to Sean Hannity (who used to be a former co-worker when she worked in the news media business before entering the ministry):
Sean, you occupy a position of power. All words have power, but some words are more powerful than others simply because they are amplified from a larger stage. With power comes responsibility. If there is any of that old Sean left—the one before the big office, the popular TV and radio show and best selling books—I appeal to that man. Understand the power of your words. I know that words of division are profit-making words for you. We human beings apparently love to see a good fight, or feel our views justified by a good argument. But I hope this incident will give you pause and help you begin to choose your words more wisely. I hope, in choosing future words, you’ll consider not what’s best for the Hannity bank account, but what’s best for humanity.

I long for the day when profitable words are words that uplift, encourage, and inspire people. The strength of this nation has always been our unity in diversity and our unity in the face of adversity. By using your words to create a world of “us” and “them” you only perpetuate violence and discord in our society. I am asking you, Sean, to examine yourself and your words. You don’t have to agree with liberals and their views, but you can oppose liberal ideas without painting those who hold those beliefs as enemies who need to be stopped or defeated. If conservative ideas are truly superior, then a compelling case can be made for them without resorting to the politics of personal destruction.

Sean, your words have the power to heal and the power to destroy. The choice is yours.
The rest of the letter can be read here.

Her new book, Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians, will be published in September 2008 by Jossey-Bass.

12 July 2008

Bloggingheads Video Clip -- "Science Saturday: The Young and the Restless"

Check out the Blogginghead online conversation between Abigail Smith (University of Oklahoma grad student and blog author of erv) and PZ Myers (University of Minnesota - Morris professor and blog author of Pharyngula).

An excellent explanation of the importance of Richard Lenski's research on evolutionary biology of bacteria during this discussion can be found here.

The portion of this discussion related to recent Bill Donohue-PZ Myers dispute can be found here.

Background info on the Donohue-Myers dispute can be found here and here.

10 July 2008

More Outrage and Death Threats Over "Religious Insult" - Round Two

After the initial "cracker kidnapping" incident, the Minnesota biology professor PZ Myers has commented on the over-reaction on the Pharyngula science blog:


PZ Myers blog was noticed by Bill Donohue and the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights:


Bill Donohue has asked his followers to harass Myers and the University of Minnesota President. Myers' reaction to this harassment can be found here:

Now I've got Bill Donohue's attention

Earlier today, Myers reported the following response to his criticism of the religious over-reaction from Donohue and the Catholic League:

Fight back against Bill Donohue!

Instead of "turning the other cheek," Myers blog commentary on the "cracker" incident has earned the following reaction:
So far today, I have received 39 pieces of personal hate mail of varying degrees of literacy, all because I was rude to a cracker. Four of them have included death threats, a personal one day record. Thirty-four of them have demanded that I be fired. Twenty-five of them have told me to desecrate a copy of the Koran, instead, or in some similar way offend Muslims, because — in a multiplicity of ironic cluelessness — apparently only some religious icons must be protected, and I would only offend Catholics because they are all so nice that none of them would wish me harm. I even have one email that says I should be fired, that the author would like to kill me, and that I only criticize because Catholics are so gentle and kind.
Myers has also received death threats in the comments on his blog:
If God doesn't get you, I will
You're a fucking giant sized scumbag. I hope you die slowly and painfully. Cunt.
And it's starting to get noticed outside the blogosphere and in the mainstream media:

Communion wafer held 'hostage' raises holy heck

And we're still waiting for the moderate religious voices to condemn threats of violence and economic harm over a cracker that wasn't eaten and the subsequent commentary about this uneaten cracker.

09 July 2008

Death Threats Over "Religious Insult" in the US??

Remember the Danish Muhammad cartoon controversy where a perceived religious insult led to death threats for those doing the insulting?

Apparently something very similar happened in Florida on a college campus after a student "kidnapped" the "body of Christ":
So far, I have seen no press coverage of moderate or liberal Christian voices speaking out against this religious extremism happening within Christianity.

This is no different from the relative lack of moderate or liberal Islamic voices speaking out against religious extremism happening within Islam.

Apparently, the safety of a human is less important to some Christians than the safety of a cracker.

05 July 2008

Does this describe a "typical" Unitarian Universalist?

I ran across this web site after reading an interview with the author.

Much of this list describes a very common demographic group in Unitarian Universalist congregations. Much of this list would describe (in biting satirical accuracy) a "stereotypical" Unitarian Universalist.

Check out the complete list here.

Given the population demographic trends presented in Rev. Peter Morales' opening speech at the 2008 General Assembly candidates forum, this is an area for future work.